St. Louis County Joins CPR Awareness App

DULUTH, Minn. — On Tuesday, St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office announced the local launch of Pulse Point, nationwide program that enlists the help of bystanders when CPR is needed.

October is sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month and this year alone, over 300, 000 people will suffer a cardiac arrest. That’s according to the American Heart Association.

“Exactly one week after I suffered cardiac arrest they had to amputate my leg above the knee. I spent 45 days in induced coma and a total of three months in the hospital, but I’m so grateful to my friend that did CPR. If I’m alive today, it’s because she did CPR.”

That was Adela Alvarez, survivor of cardiac arrest, thanks in part to her friends immediate CPR response.

It’s stories like these that inspired St. Louis County to launch the pulse point app. So how does it work?

“The way it works is we integrate our 911 software. So it’s still important to remember you always call 911 if you’re witnessing a cardiac arrest. Our interface takes it from there. What we do is we identify from the dispatcher’s information that it’s a cardiac arrest in progress. Right from there we will trigger alerts to any app users within a quarter mile or so of the victim’s location,” said Member of the Pulse Point Foundation, Kraig Erickson.

Erickson went on to say, the hope is that someone nearby will know CPR.

According to the American Heart Association, every minute that goes by without CPR, you lose a 10% chance of survival.

Being that we live in the northland with rural landscape, blizzard conditions, and other environment effects, it could take longer than a few minutes for first responders to arrive.

Not to mention, most industries are facing staff shortages — further stunting response time.

“This includes fire, ems, law enforcement, we’re all suffering staff shortages and hiring challenges and I think even the medical profession can speak to that, as well. The fact that we have another tool to get someone there quicker is definitely a big benefit,” said St. Louis County Supervising Deputy, Brandon Silgjord.

Local responders are also hoping you download the Pulse Point AED app.

AED stands for Automated External Defibrillators. They’re medical devices used to help those experiencing cardiac arrest.

When a cardiac arrest call comes in, the app shows its users where nearby AED’s are located.

As of recently, all St. Louis County squad cars are marked with AED’s.

“You might say they’re dummy proof. Brandon and his sheriffs cannot screw up with these, they’re a safe device. It automatically analyzes the victim’s heart rhythm and if the cause of their cardiac arrest is an electrical disturbance, it will deliver a shock. if the cause is not an electrical disturbance, it won’t deliver a shock,” said St. Luke’s Emergency Medicine Physician, Dr. Todd Struckman.

If you didn’t know, AED’s are located all over communities — in schools, offices, and in most public buildings.

Again, these apps are not used to replace first responders.

The local launch of Pulse Point is a joint effort between St Louis County, the Duluth Fire Department, and the Pulse Point Foundation.

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